Trevelyan's shack was precisely as he had remembered it,
box-like, built of vertical boards from which the white-
wash had scaled off a long time back, set flat on the bare,
trodden ground. A large gum tree stood near the house, the
earth seeming to recede from around its roots. Under the gum
tree a hen was fluffing and wallowing in the dust. When
Mr. Munn rode up to the gate, it left off, and went under the
From the doorway, Trevelyan's wife watched him as he
approached and dismounted. He dropped the bridle over the
sagging gatepost, and strode toward her over the turfless
ground. She had her hands clasped together at the level of
her waist. She was barefooted, and he noticed how her
feet, which were streaked with dust, looked small and bony,
like a child's feet, even though she was not a small woman.
"Good-afternoon," he said, and watched her face as she
prepared to speak. In it there was a kind of preliminary
gathering, an effort, that would come to focus in the word
she would speak.
" Howdy-do," she answered.
" Is your husband here?" he demanded.
" He's here," she said, nodding slowly.
"Can I see him?"
"Ifn you'll just step in, and set down," she replied, "I'll
git him. He's a-choppen some stovewood, and if n you'll-----"
She let one of her hands move in a gesture of invitation that
seemed to fail before it had well begun.
He shook his head. " No, thanks," he said. " I'll just go
back and talk to him, if you'll tell me where he is."
"He's in the back, a-choppen," she said. "But ifn you'll
step in-----" She made a weak gesture.
" No, thanks," he said, and moved quickly away. He did
not want to be with the woman any longer.
He turned the corner of the house, and passed under the
boughs of the gum tree. He heard the sound of an axe stroke
on wood, a sound thin but satisfying and clean in the empti-
ness of the afternoon. Then he saw Trevelyan, The man